Their Own Devices

In this episode of Like a Sponge, we talk to experts about what screens are doing to our kids’ brains — and what kind of role models we are.


Common Sense Media is an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to helping kids thrive in a world of media and technology. Check out their library of age-based and educational ratings and reviews for movies, games, apps, TV shows, websites, books, and music.

The Common Sense Census: Plugged-In Parents of Tweens and Teens 2016 is a survey of parents’ screen use. The results may surprise you.

Child psychologist Yalda T. Uhls is the author of Media Moms & Digital Dads: A Fact-Not-Fear Approach to Parenting in the Digital Age.

The study Digital Media Exposure in School-Aged Children Decreases the Frequency of Homework by Stephanie Ruest, MD and Max Rubinstein, MD reveals a direct link between the number of hours spent using digital media and measures of childhood flourishing.

Moment is the screen time-tracking app Carol Lloyd mentions in this episode. Moment logs your phone and tablet use, including which apps you use the most and how many times you pick up the device. It also has several features to help you and your family reduce the time you spend on phones, if that’s your goal.

Related links

This five-part series by GreatSchools explores what research says about the effects of technology on kids’ brains: TV, cell phones, tablets, video games, and social media.

Are screen-addicted kids frying their brains? Yalda T. Uhls shares data on how kids are using digital media and offers advice to help parents manage screen time.

New evidence suggests that giving your kids a digital curfew is a good idea.

Research shows heavy screen time rewires young brains.

Did you know that Steve Jobs was a low-tech parent?

Why tech titans “never get high on their own supply.”

What all parents need to know about cyberbullying.

This episode of Like a Sponge was produced by Carol Lloyd, Will Rogers, and Charity Ferreira for GreatSchools, thanks to the support of the Carnegie Corporation of New York. Special thanks to our managing editor, Jessica Kelmon; Yalda T. Uhls; Stephanie Ruest; Michael Robb; Tara Lencl; and everyone who talked with us about their relationship to technology.

The music in this episode is by Podington Bear, Peter Sandberg, Kozlof, Chris Zabriskie, Art of Escapism, Paul Tyan, Light-Foot, Bob Marley and Fog and Smog.